Another Layer On The Onion

The most recent proposals coming out of the House for alleged health care reform will make your headaches worse when dealing with health issues regarding treatment and  insurance coverage.  We all have our own horror stories about ourselves or some relative or close friend who has endured a nightmare of paperwork and confusing letters and “billings” from insurance companies, hospitals and doctors for medical care.  You often can’t even tell if the paperwork you receive is a bill or what.  So often the paperwork will indicate that you “might” be billed so much for such and such a procedure.   Who in the world can understand the final billing you get from the hospital?   Those line item entries might as well be written in Greek.  Some of that is our own fault for not asking questions up front about services and costs when we go to the hospital.  Rather than being charged a set fee to have a gall bladder removed and a three day stay in the hospital we are billed for each and everything thing they do, everything they hook us up to and all that paraphernalia attendant.  Why does every single patient need the finger monitor for oxygen content?   Millions went to the hospital for gall bladder removal and survived just fine without that, thank you very much.   There is no question that improvement can be made.  However, let’s not make the classic mistake of trying to fix what ain’t broke.  We do get excellent care.  The costs and paperwork or insurance coverage rules are out of control and that is where we need to make the improvements.   The last thing the system needs is more bureaucracy.  The hospitals and insurance companies already give us enough of that.

As bad as it might be now it can be worse and will be if the current House proposal were to become law.  You will have exactly the same problems as before but now you will have a whole new layer(s) of bureaucracy on top of that existing now.   Under the proposed new regime there will be: Health Choices Administration, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund, Government Health Plan, Bureau of Health Information and the Health Benefits Advisory Committee and that is not all of them.   My first thought is just how many more Federal employees will Government, Inc. need to man these outfits.  The average wage these days is reported to be $74,000 per federal employee.   You can be assured those agencies and bureaus won’t be hiring only a few dozens employees.  D. C. will grow even more and so will those unions and the power of politicians who support all these agencies.   What exactly are these people going to be doing that will improve the quality of medical care for me?  How are they going to make my medical care cost less?  Just as with every government agency you can be positive that they will never diminish in size; they will only grow over time.  You will not only have to deal with the insurance company and the doctor but one or the other of these agencies.  They will have the power to enforce federally mandated standards of care.  Which of course means you take what they offer or nothing;  there will be no other option except to go to completely private health care as the ones who can afford it do in Great Britain, France and Canada now.  

The system in the proposal does make it mandatory to go to the public plan.  Don’t let the rhetoric fool you.  Yes, you can keep the coverage you have now.   But, and it is a huge but, if you ever change then you must join the government program in one of their three tier programs.  If you have coverage by an employer and leave that employment and lose coverage the same thing applies and you must join the government program.  Likewise if you have never had coverage then you are forced to go with one of the three levels offered by Government, Inc.   You can’t get private coverage even if that is what you prefer.  If you have never had insurance then again you are mandated to one of the government plans, no option.

I notice that Connecticut is coming up with its own health plan.  We all know that Massachussetts has implemented a plan a few years ago.  I don’t know the details of the Conn. plan but I think that is fine.  Our federalist system is wonderfully flexible and allows for tremendous freedom to experiment with ideas.  I think it would be great if several of the states tried different methods for dealing with health care issues.  Let them give it a go for ten years and let’s all take a look at how they worked out.  The better ideas will emerge and the ones that were fraught with unintended consequences will also be revealed.  The health care system is much too important to rush through half cocked ideas that are driven much more by ideology than sound business and medical methods.  Those pushing so hard for passage want it because it is a government program and gives Government, Inc. tremendous control over an important and large segment of our economy. 

We haven’t even touched on the cost problems.  Those costs will be much much worse under Government control.  Some in government in fact won’t really mind that because it will keep so many new government employees and others dependent on the very politicians who hand out these goodies.  The more they spend the more folks that will depend on them.  Of course at some time  they will reach the point of diminishing returns because the private sector will be smaller and smaller and more anemic and there won’t be anyplace to grab the money to pay for all these benefits.  Government can’t create wealth or value, it can print money but that is not the same thing.  The private sector has to exist to have someone to tax, unless their plan is to go completely Commie and have everything belong to Government, Inc.

It all makes one wonder if Government, Inc. will do away with the Hippocratic oath and require a loyalty oath to the government system.  After all a strict application of that Hippocratic oath would often run counter to Government, Inc.’s health policies.

1 Comment

Filed under business, Economics, government, Socialized Medicine

One response to “Another Layer On The Onion

  1. Tom

    Great point that government healthcare adds another layer(s) of bureaucracy to an already over bureaucratized system. The other main issue I see is the separation between the consumer and pricing. An example: one store is 2 blocks away and has a new building but sells milk at $5/gal and another store is 4 blocks away and has an older building but sells milk at $2.50/gal which store would you buy your milk from? Now let’s say that insurance is involved in the process and tells you that your cost for the milk is only $1/gal regardless of which store you buy from which store do you buy your milk from? How do we resolve this issue? I don’t know but it’s going to take more than a couple of weeks of discussion.

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